Friday 6 April 2012

 

F-35: 30 billion dollar boondoggle

By David McLaren
Special to True North Perspective
David McLaren is an award-winning writer living at Neyaashiinigamiing on Georgian Bay. He has worked in government, in the private sector, with ENGOs (Environmental Non-Government Organizations) and First Nations. Comments on this and other essays are welcome at http://jdavidmclaren.wordpress.com/.
04 April 2012 — The current Auditor General’s Report excoriates the federal government for its shoddy handling of the F-35 file, but Michael Ferguson points his finger at the Department of National Defence. The Harper Government’s response has been to move the file from the DND to Public Works, as if shuffling the deck means a new game. But Kevin Page, the former Auditor General, pointed to problems with pricing the F-35 a year ago. Either Mr Harper’s Ministers weren’t listening, or they knowingly misled Parliament and Canadians for a year. Either way, blaming the fumble on the folks at the DND is nothing but a smokescreen for Cabinet. I wrote the following article a year ago. Unfortunately for Canadian taxpayers it’s still relevant. 
 
$18 billion, $30 billion … what’s a few zeros among politicians, eh? I don’t know about you, but in these post-recession penny pinching times, an extra zero or two makes a big difference when I’m trying to balance the household budget. Did you know that the ‘eco’ in economics comes from the Greek word for ‘household,’ and the ‘nomic’ means management? An economist is a household manager. I wonder how many of them keep that in mind when they calculate the cost of something against the benefit to the country. In these times, numbers are not a game. (More)
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Stephen is in direct communication with God, so he can do no wrong
 
Signs mount that Canada's government is beholden to a religious agenda averse to science and rational debate.
 
By Andrew Nikiforuk
The Tyee.ca

26 March 2012 — Any Canadian listening to the news these days might well conclude that the Republican extremists or some associated evangelical group has occupied Ottawa.
 
And they'd be righter than Job, I believe.
 
Almost daily, more evidence surfaces that Canada's government is guided by tribalists averse to scientific reason in favour of Biblical fundamentalism -- or what some call "evangelical religious skepticism." (More)
 
 
True North Perspective publishes in
the best traditions of Canadian journalism
If you think it's too radical, please read
Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective.

 

True North Perspective
Vol. 7, No. 10 (312)
Friday 06 April 2012
 
Editor's Notes
 

Harper tries to smokescreen culpability for $30 billion

 

F-35 scandal by switching from DND to Public Works

A lot good that will do, a former leading employee of the Department of Public Works (PW), tells True North Perspective.

Within hours of the Harper government's response to Auditor General Michael Ferguson's scathing report on the shady handling of the F-35 file, a retired employee of PW was telling me that the results will be no better.

The man said he worked for PW for about ten years. He said corruption was rampant and when he challenged it, he was forced into early retirement. (More)

"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
 
Your support makes it possible for True North to clear the fog of "publicity" and keep you informed on what's really happening in the world today. Please send your donation to:
 
Carl Dow, True North, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.
 

Alex Binkley is a foremost political and economic analyst, whose website is www.alex.binkley.com. Readers will be aware that his columns in True North Perspective have foreseen political and economic developments in Canada. This week in ... 

The Binkley Report

Why should law make life more dangerous for prostitutes?

'What pray tell do people safe in their homes have to fear from prostitution? Are there roving gangs of prostitutes swarming the streets?'

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
 
6 April 2012 — In the furor created by the Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that largely upheld a lower court decision that would chuck much of Canada’s prostitution laws, a key point the judges have made is largely being ignored.
 
Why should the law make life any more dangerous for prostitutes than it already is? (More.)
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From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

The Alberta one-party state heavily subsidizes 

foreign oil companies — Texas and Beijing rule

Low royalties deprive province of significant, rising amounts of potential revenue

By Andrew Nikiforuk
The Tyee.ca
 
5 April 2012 — The Parkland Institute, a left-leaning Edmonton-based research network, reported that the government has received less than 20 per cent of the wealth generated by oil sands production since 1997 even though its original target was 35 per cent.

"Albertans have never received more than 20 per cent of the rent in the tar sands, and since 1997 have averaged only nine per cent," says the Parkland report.

Since 1986 industry has taken home $260 billion in pre-tax profits while the public, the owner of the resource, has received less than $25 billion or less than six per cent of the total value. (More)
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Spirit Quest

 
By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective
 
The story goes that one night around Easter a certain poultry farmer with a sense of humour and an appreciation for beauty placed some coloured Easter eggs in his hens’ nests. Imagine the perplexed rooster  when next morning he carried out an inspection of  these nests and saw the garish colored eggs. He was furious and immediately set out  to find the local peacock and pecked him to within an inch of his life.
 
Easter eggs are very beautiful. Preparing them is a long and complicated process. It comes to us from eastern European countries, thus the giant Easter egg that adorns the entry to Dauphin, Manitoba, a city with a large Ukrainian population. 
 
Each Easter I bring out a  box containing these special eggs. Not only are they very colourful, they are also getting quite old, 44 years to be exact. (More)
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Bits and Bites of Everyday Life
 
After you say “Hello”

Thoughts on the essense of 'grandmothers'

By Geneviève Hone
True North Perspective

Geneviève Hone is a grandmother, family therapist and social worker.  With her husband, Julien Mercure (also a family therapist), she has co-authored three books on couples and family life. Her home on the web is www.hone-mercure.com/index_hone_en.php.

5 April 2012 — “I’m heading to the park”, I announce to my husband as I do every morning that the weather is clement to old bones.
 
“And who are you meeting today?” he asks laughingly, knowing that my morning walk is my favorite time to converse with people from my past, present and even my future. These people are invisible to the innocent passerby, but they seem real enough to me and I do pick up quite a few ideas from what my husband teasingly calls my imaginary playmates. (More.)
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Reality Check
 
 
Cyber-attack on NDP leadership election highlights risks of online voting
 
By Michael Geist
TheTyee
 
3 April 2012 — The recent New Democratic Party convention in Toronto may have done more than just select Thomas Mulcair as the party's new leader. It may have also buried the prospect of online voting in Canada for the foreseeable future. While Internet-based voting supporters have consistently maintained that the technology is safe and secure, the NDP's experience -- in which a denial of service attack resulted in long delays and inaccessible websites — demonstrates that turning to Internet voting in an election involving millions of voters would be irresponsible and risky. (More.)
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Annals of Education

Russian publisher won't withdraw Stalin notebook from schools

Officials criticise school notebook featuring former Soviet leader on cover as part of publisher's series of 20 'Great Russians'

By Miriam Elder
The Guardian

3 April 2012, Moscow — A Russian publisher has refused to withdraw a notebook for schoolchildren featuring the former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin on its cover.
 
Members of Russia's Public Chamber, a government oversight committee, and Moscow city officials have criticised the notebook, which features Stalin in military regalia.
 
"Whatever you think of this person, no one can deny the fact that a lot of people were killed under Stalin. If his face appears on a school notebook, this, in my opinion, is akin to Hitler's swastika," said Sergei Volkov, a member of the Public Chamber. (More.)
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From the Desk of Darren Jerome

A continuing update on the war against WikiLeaks transparency

Please be advised that the below is not just the same old thing. By clicking on it you'll find the petition in support of Julian Assange and discover fascinating on-going reports and videos related to one of the most important events in modern history, and the desperate attempts to put a lid on information that everyone should know. Don't miss this special opportunity to stay informed.

Inside a military court hearing:

How the US government is railroading Bradley Manning

By Phil Fornaci and Jane Zara
TruthOut
 
3 April 2012 — The WikiLeaks/Bradley Manning debacle provides us with a startling example of how brutally the US government treats those brave enough to provide even a glimpse of the machinations of its imperial assault on the rest of the world.
 
Manning and the whistleblower web site WikiLeaks are credited with providing information that helped precipitate earthshaking historic events, including the Arab Spring and the recent withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
 
More notably, Manning and WikiLeaks are also credited with (and criminally accused of) release of the so-called "Collateral Murder" video footage of the slaughter of Reuters reporters and other civilians by the US military in Baghdad. For his alleged role in this "crime," Manning is enduring one of the most aggressive legal prosecutions in American history. (More.)
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Thank you George Bush, Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton

After ten years of war, tens of thousands killed 

Afghanistan women still live in the 12th century

By Giullana Sgrena
InterPress Service
 
03 April 2012, KABUL — Mursal, a beautiful 19-year-old girl who has run away from home to escape a mentally ill husband, is just one of many Afghan women and girls who are now considered criminals under the country’s laws on ‘morality.’ 
 
Running away from one’s husband is considered a ‘moral crime’, for which hundreds of Afghan women have already been jailed, with hundreds more at risk of been sentenced to a similar fate.

"I was forced to marry a mentally sick man when I was 11 years old, I was still a child and had no information about sex and marriage. I had just run away from my house because my father’s second wife used to beat me," Mursal told IPS. (More)

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Ethnic cleansing: Washington style

US Immigration deports more than 46,000 parents

with American-born citizen children during last year

By Michele Waslin
alternet.org
 
03 April 2012 —  Immigration enforcement and deportation have a particularly devastating impact on mixed status families, that is, families who have one or more direct members who are undocumented. When parents are deported, families face impossible decisions about whether their family will be separated or whether U.S. citizen kids will be de facto deported along with their parents.  New numbers released in a report by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) show the extent of the issue. The new report finds that, between January and June 2011, ICE deported over 46,000 immigrants who claimed to have at least one U.S. citizen child. (More)
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By Stephen Lendman
Mathaba.net
 
1 April 2012 — On March 27, Syria formally accepted Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan. His spokesman,AhmadFawzi said:
 
"The Syrian government has written to the Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan accepting his six-point plan, endorsed by the United Nations Security Council."
 
"Mr Annan views this as an important initial step that could bring an end to the violence and the bloodshed, provide aid to the suffering, and create an environment conducive to a political dialoguethat would fulfil the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people."
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Don't be disuaded by the sound hiccups at first, stay with the video to the end and you'll enrich your understanding of really why they hate us. Why women, men, and children, are willing to turn themselves into human bombs. They feel humiliated and exploited and have a vital need to fight back no matter how. Making war on them, continuing and expanding their brutal exploitation will not bring peace. The only response for us is a humanitarian policy or to kill every last child, woman, and man. The latter way would give us material victory but leave us with a hollow emptiness for souls. Please give this video serious attention. Your life may depend on it. — Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro1maolWjD0&feature=related

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Ohio Governor launches full-scale war against slavery 

Triggered by Executive Order as escaped slave speaks

GovKasich gives task force 90 days to measure ability to identify victims

 
(At last, a US state governor is officially opening up a campaign against slavery. Americans are waiting for Washington to put a brake on empire building and do the same.)
 
By Hannah McCartney
Cincinatti City Beat

04 April 2012 CINCINNATI Ohio — “Can you tell me how a 13-year-old kid can be snatched, blackmailed, drugged, raped, in our state? In our country?”

That’s the question Ohio Gov. John Kasich asked audiences Thursday 29 March before signing an executive order to create the Human Trafficking Task Force, which is intended to combat human trafficking across the state and help victims recover. 

“I don’t think I can think of a greater evil than what we know as the human slave trade,” said Kasich, before signing the order. 

A 2010 study conducted by the Trafficking in Persons Study Commission revealed that about 1,000 American-born children are forced into sex trade in Ohio every year, while about 800 immigrants fall victim to human trafficking, either through sexual exploitation or manipulation into hard labor. (More)

 

By The Plain Dealer Editorial Board

"When the governor signs an executive order, it's a pretty serious issue," says Renee Jones. She should know.

Jones is the heart and brains behind the Renee Jones Empowerment Center, a near-West Side storefront nonprofit that does street and strip-club outreach to women trying to escape the sex industry. (More)
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Sex

The strange, fascinating history of the vibrator

The sex toy has its roots in the prude Victorian era -- but its history tells us a lot about the current attack upon women’s sexuality

By Erik Loomis
AlterNet
 
9 March 2012 — Victorian-era doctors disliked dealing with female patients. This highly masculinized profession saw women as overly emotional and barely capable of rational discussion of their bodies. For a profession actively attempting to separate itself from the quacks selling cure-all tonics out of the back of wagons, treating women’s conditions provided little professional credibility or prestige.
 
One of women’s most common medical conditions was broadly called “hysteria.” By this, doctors meant any number of symptoms that described "irrational" female complaints. Perhaps the most well-known subsection of this aliment was neurasthenia, a nervous condition afflicting Gilded Age women and some men. Neurasthenia symptoms ranged from headaches and fear of insanity to insomnia and “morbid fears.” While mostly afflicting women, men also received diagnoses of neurasthenia; common causes for men were thought to be overwork and masturbation. (More.)
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Science

Clean energy at last?

Self-sustaining solar reactor creates carbon-free hydrogen fuel

By Matthew Humphries
Geek.com

4 April 2012 — It may sound too good to be true, but a mechanical engineer working out of the University of Delaware has come up with a way to produce hydrogen without any undesirable emissions such as carbon dioxide.
 
The totally clean fuel production is made possible due to a new solar reactor created by Erik Koepf that only relies on concentrated sunlight, zinc oxide, and water to produce hydrogen.
 
The reactor is capable of using sunlight to increase the heat inside its cylindrical structure above 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Zinc oxide powder is then gravity fed through 15 hoppers into the ceramic interior where it converts to a zinc vapor. At that point the vapor is reacted with water separately, which in turn produces hydrogen. (More.)
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The Cinema
 
 
Woody Allen's elegiacal tale is the work of a master craftsman, albeit of a writer whose grasp on an imagined past seems stronger than his hold on the present
 
Managing Editor, True North Perspective
Originally published at Edifice Rex Online

14 March 2012 — Gil Pender is a fast-talking nerd, an insecure intellectual with a cynical misanthropic streak and a successful Hollywood screenwriter who nevertheless longs to write the Great American novel (where have we seen that before?).

His fiance Inez is a shallow social climber with whom Gil has nothing in common. They are on a trip to Paris, accompanied by Inez's wealthy and reactionary parents.

(Really? Who does that?) (More.)

 

 
The Old Man's Last Sauna
 
(To read the stories just click on the italic titles. Please tell us what you think.)
 
An eclectic collection of short stories by Carl Dow that will stir your sense of humour, warm your heart, outrage your sense of justice, and chill your extra sensory faculties in the spirit of Stephen King. The final short story, the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna is a ground-breaking love story. The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. FlynnSharing LiesFlying HighThe Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows YaOne Lift Too ManyThe Model A Ford, the out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only and O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series closes with the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Saunaa groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.